Manton Reece’s Indie Microblogging Kickstarter micro.blog closed this week at $86,696, successfully meeting both its original $10,000 goal, and super stretch goal of $80,000, for which they will hire a community manager to help support the new Safe Replies feature.
This is a huge step forward for the creation of an alternative to Twitter, in numerous ways, some obvious, many more subtle.
In addition to the usual nice UX you would expect (require) from a “Twitter replacement”, micro.blog is being built from the beginning to encourage independent writing on your own site, rather than forcing you to use yet another silo (like Ello).
To do this, micro.blog is being built primarily as a service for microblogs, wherever you might host them, with “the main posts pulled from independent sites.” In this way, micro.blog will be more of an aggregator service that displays a timeline, replies, favorites etc. from multiple sites instead of a social media silo, where all such action must take place directly on one site (or through a proprietary API).
Micro.blog is being built from the start to interoperate with heterogenous systems (i.e. not just with other micro.blog instances, a big distinction from many previous open source decentralized web efforts which focused primarily or exclusively on interoperating only with themselves).
Manton has also been actively working with the already diverse and growing IndieWeb Community, host to numerous self-dogfooded projects already implementing those open standards, and already posting, commenting, liking, RSVPing to each others websites in a truly decentralized and federated manner.
I’m really looking forward to the development of micro.blog. In particular, Manton has identified a key problem with existing silos like Twitter, and that is the rampant abuse and over-notifications that result due to bad UX and architectural decisions about replies, favorites, retweets etc. E.g. Blocked accounts can still @-reply and show-up on your public tweet permalinks.
Manton calls his approach to solving this problem “Safe Replies” and I think it has a lot of promise. I’m looking forward to tracking the UX of Safe Replies, and seeing if we can help make Safe Replies happen in a federated way as well, with extensions to Webmention etc.